Why my mandible does hurt me?
Have you noticed any noise in your mandible while opening or closing your mouth? Do you feel annoyance while yawing? Do you suffer from chronic headaches? You could be suffering from temporomandibular disorders (TMJ). This articulation connects mandible with the temporal bone of the skull and could be felt placing the fingers ahead from the ears and opening the mouth or moving the mandible from side to side. The movement that realizes this articulation is the one that allows us to speak, masticate and swallows and any factor that do not allow its correct functioning could derive in a temporomandibular disease. If this dysfunction is not treated, it could be worst with time and older patients could have real trouble.
In Sannas Dentofacial Dr. Idoya Orradre, TMJ disorders and orofacial pain specialist, is the responsible of diagnosing and treating these pathologies, which symptoms, following the studies, could affect more than 50% of the population.
Which is the most cause of TMJ disruption?
They exist multiple causes that could provoke this disruption, the most common ones are: mandibular traumas, parafunctional habits (bruxism, chewing gums, nail biting…), an inadequate occlusion, psychological factors (stress, depression, anxiety), medicines, certain articulating diseases, etc.
What does bruxism consist of?
Bruxism is the involuntary habit of grinding or squeezing the teeth. Is one of the called parfunctions, mastication system activities that do not have an intention of functionality. In many occasions, the stress and when bruxism is at nights could drive to more problems and would be more difficult to control.
When does the TMJ disruption manifests?
Pain in head muscles is the most common symptom, but the disruption could drive to a limited movement of the head or blocking opening and closing the jaws, pain in the face, neck or shoulders, noises in the articulation opening or closing the mouth or repentant changes in the way of biting . In some occasions, an alteration in this articulation could provoke dizziness, headaches, inner ear and many people do not know about this problem.
How can we know if we suffer this alteration?
Approximately half of the population presents any kind of functional alteration in the masticatory system without knowing.
Pains in the mandible and the noises while opening or closing the mouth could give us the alert. Sometimes this dysfunction do not allow us to open or close completely our mouth, what is more, we can even notice that our face gets wider because the muscles enlarge. On the other hand, we can have dental symptoms such as dental sensitivity or when we close our mouth the occlusion is not the same. If you have noticed any of those symptoms, you could be suffering from TMJ disruption.
Once diagnosed, which is the treatment that we should follow?
These pathologies treatment is varied and multidisciplinary and should be preceded by a correct diagnosis.
The treatment could include: targeted drug delivery, TMJ physiotherapy, occluding splints, managing stress techniques, and laser, acupuncture and punition techniques, infiltrations (hyaluronic acid, botulin toxin, anesthetics, corticoids, PRGF), artocentresis , dental procedures (orthodontics, prosthesis and adjustments occluding) or chirurgical treatments.
Which consequences could entail no treating adequately this type of pathology?
If we do not treat these types of dysfunctions its symptoms could start getting worst in a high percentage of cases and can be causing extended pain and weaken.
TMJ disruption, could be prevented somehow? Which advices would you give your patients?
- The advice I give my patients is to maintain the affected zone relaxed with some simple steps:
- Trying to limit mandibular movements
- Control opening during yawing putting the fist under the chin
- Avoid doing large movements of the mandible
- Do not chew gums and hard nourishment
- Learn relaxation techniques to control stress and anxiety